Sunday, 20 March 2011


Speaking on behalf of Tanzanians and Africans living in London early this week, blogger, presenter and Tanzanian fashion model, Jestina George touched on many aspects of the recent Gongo la Mboto incident.
Miss George who presents for Africans in London TV ( helped us focus on four major aspects of Gongo la Mboto funds appeal. Although the unfortunate incident will not be resolved by charity but by our politicians addressing other deeper issues, we can still ask questions and learn a few lessons.
First was the scepticism and cynicism.
We have always heard of humanitarian aid being held in red tape queue, delayed even re sold or completely taken away from its destination. 

History can give us examples of humanitarian aid gone to the dustbin. During the 1984 famous Ethiopian famine calamity it was alleged that funds collected by international charity and fundraising events under the fiery leadership of musician Bob Geldof had difficulty reaching intended victims due to local bureaucracy and corruption. It was even alleged by certain media groups that the charity money was diverted into strengthening military groups instead of aiding the 1984-85 hungry Ethiopians.
 We live in a very tough continent.
Well orchestrated assistance ending in someone’s private pockets and stomachs, is nothing surprising, in fact it is the norm in poor countries. No wonder some citizens have been wondering how (and if) the donated funds and goods shall reach the victims. In two brief separate meetings, till Wednesday Tanzanian residents in Reading and London managed to donate 800 pounds (approximately 2 million T shillings), clothes and other miscellaneous goods for affected at Gongo la Mboto.
Miss Jestina George reassured:
“It will all be handed to Red Cross who will liaise with necessary authorities in Dar es Salaam...”
But how did it start?
It all began with Bernard Chisumo of Locus Impex Shipping Company sending a message through Facebook the international social networking site.
Mr. Chisumo told Africans in London TV news:  “Why should we always depend on rich countries to bail us out of our disasters? Why shouldn’t we do it ourselves?”
 Taking initiative to resolve problems or even create positive situations is a very important point.
On hindsight it is uncommon for us to experience big misfortunes such as Gongo la Mboto. Yes we have re occurring issues such as constant bus accidents and Albino killings. Nevertheless, we are not used to huge, mass genocide as seen in other places across Africa and elsewhere. So with this perspective in view we are therefore, not used to organise funding events. No wonder those organising complained that there were fellow Tanzanians actually sending text messages to fellow citizens to boycott the fund raising and donation!  Gongo La Mboto Funds Appeal is ironically a learning curve.
Third point was the zealousness itself. Within a few days of the announcement Tanzanians travelled to give what they could. Two venues were chosen in Reading (Vincent Restaurant) and London (African Village); both places are hardly known nor frequented by majority Tanzanians, yet they became centres of activity and giving. What makes communication so easy these days is the use of social networking sites (Facebook) phones and the emergence of new media organisations.
Then there was unity and co-operation.
Apart from Jestina George and Mr. Chisumo’s efforts there was the collaboration between Urban Pulse led by Frank Eyembe and AILTV news under Kenyan musician and producer, Joseph Adamson.
Miss Doto Nyadundo, will deliver the goods to Gongo la Mboto.
For more information please contact Jestina George at:
Mr Chisumo’s phone number is +44-79000-43224.
 -London, Wednesday, 2nd March, 2011.

Published in Citizen 3rd March, 2011.

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